Family dinners can be awkward at the best of times, but when family members travel from near and far to gather for Thanksgiving dinner, conversation can go downhill faster than you can call dibs on the turkey leg.

Today, we want to offer you some tips on how you can turn a bad conversation to good, so you can reframe the dreaded table talk this Thanksgiving.

Break the Ice

In order to get guests comfortable with Thanksgiving table talk, start with an ice breaker. It can be as simple as asking everyone what they are thankful for this year. It sounds so obvious, but focusing on what people are thankful for creates optimism and morale around the dinner table.

Share a Story

Whether you discuss a recent trip or an old family memory from holidays past, everyone loves a good story. Bonus points if it’s funny! It’s nice to reminisce about family memories together when you may otherwise be feeling disconnected or possibly argumentative.

Ask About the Past

Gathering around the dinner table is a good opportunity to ask older relatives about their lives and the memories they have from growing up. You never know what you may learn! 

Look Ahead

If awkward conversation arises, try and steer dinner guests towards the future. The New Year is right around the corner, so ask guests if they have any exciting events planned for the holidays. Ask about upcoming vacations, business travels, goals and any visions for the New Year ahead. Get creative!

Pop into Pop Culture

Pop culture can be considered neutral territory, but not all generations keep up with what’s the latest. Try to stick to topics like cooking shows, food rescue, or home and decorating trends. You never know, you may find out who would be interested in living in a tiny home!

Give Guests a Heads Up

You may be able to head off any conversations that may be particularly charged by notifying guests in advance that these topics will not be welcomed at the dinner table. Remind guests as you all gather together in love this holiday season to refrain from controversial conversations and instead to focus on family, food, and gratitude.

Excuse Yourself

Despite best efforts, controversial and contentious topics may come up. It’s completely okay to take a “bathroom break” in order to avoid certain conversations. Give yourself a timeout and step away so you can regroup before returning to the dinner table and maybe bring along the dessert tray. Who doesn’t enjoy a sweet treat?

Give Thanks

Thanksgiving is all about gathering together with family and friends over a delicious meal, so despite what type of table talk takes place this Thanksgiving, be thankful for the people gathered around your dinner table this year.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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